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Jump - The Beachcomber CD (album) cover

THE BEACHCOMBER

Jump

 

Neo-Prog

3.96 | 13 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars "You all pray you'll see heaven. Well, I've already been there, it's a beach. You can stretch out your hands to the god of your choice, but I wonder if you'll ever reach."

Like in the evolution of species where there is little difference between any one generation and the next but fundamental differences between the ancestral generation and the present one, there is little difference between one Jump album the next but fundamental differences between the early albums and this most recent release to date. Apart from the distinctive voice of John Dexter Jones, there are indeed few if any direct connections between this album and the band's earliest albums. Yet this is still 100% Jump.

The Neo-Prog tag never completely fitted Jump, but it fits less here than ever before. There is hardly one trace of Neo-Prog left here. Fans of Crossover Prog and Prog Folk are more likely to enjoy this than are Neo-Prog fans, but this is one of those rare albums that can probably be enjoyed by Prog fans and non-Prog music fans alike. No doubt it would be considered not progressive enough by many a Prog fan, and I myself was not too impressed on the first few listens. However, together with (the very different) Living In A Promised Land and ...And All The King's Men, The Beachcomber is one of the Jump albums that have been in most heavy rotation since I discovered the band and it has thus proved its staying power. It is not up to par with those other two excellent albums, and the difference in quality between this album and many other Jump albums is one of degree rather than kind, but I now feel that this album deserves an extra star compared to many other good Jump albums.

The diverse influences (including Jazz, Blues, Pop, and more) are seamlessly fused together into a consistent sound and you never get the feeling that they are "jumping" from one style to another (that was sometimes the case on some earlier albums). Usually Jump relies on lead vocals, dual guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. But occasionally they include other instruments as well. Here we get some appealing fiddle on the opener Down Three Times and a couple of other tracks enhancing the modern Folk Rock feel of the album, as well as tasteful saxophone on the jazzier closer Forgive Me My Sins. These two tracks bookend the album nicely and are definitely among the highlights here together with The Sniper and On Bended Knee. The weakest track is probably Lennard's Blues, but even that one is not bad taken for the Blues rocker it is, it is also well hidden away in the middle of the album's second half among an otherwise consistent set of good songs.

This album is probably not everyone's cup of tea, and it is not Jump's best album, but it is probably impossible to deny that this is high quality music with a great attention to detail.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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